Feature

World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Mereleki Nai

A former language teacher at Suva Sangam College and Waidina Secondary School never expected to find fulfillment and purpose working in a newsroom. The tight deadlines, irritable editors and getting
12 Sep 2020 16:02
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Mereleki Nai
Fiji Sun Nadi Journalist Mereleki Nai.

A former language teacher at Suva Sangam College and Waidina Secondary School never expected to find fulfillment and purpose working in a newsroom.

The tight deadlines, irritable editors and getting sworn at by members of the public were some things she never expected.

But for Mereleki Lalabalavu Nai, one of our Nadi journalists, it is now just water off a duck’s back.

She does not allow the ‘job’ to get to her.

In fact, Ms Nai learnt that early on.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Fiji, Bachelor of Arts (English Language, Literature & Communication and iTaukei Language & Culture).

She also attained a Postgraduate Diploma in English Language and Literature at the same university.

 

When did you start working in a newsroom?

I started working for Fiji Sun in October 2018.

 

Why do you do what you do?

Passion is what drives me to do what I do. The struggles and challenges I’ve been through have taught me useful life lessons.

These lessons are inspirational which I conveyed to my students when I was teaching, in my community, and now through my writing.

Working as a journalist has given me the privilege to interact with people from different backgrounds. It is interesting to hear stories of people who struggled their way through life to finally find their purpose.

I have always dreamt of becoming an author and writing books that would liberate our society. I believe the Fiji Sun is a God-given first step for me to fulfilling that dream.

 

How do you put up with deadline pressures at work and from outside?

I am responsible and accountable for any allocated task that needs to be accomplished on that day.  If I am late, it affects the entire team both here in Nadi and the headquarters in Suva.

At first, I struggled with meeting deadlines. But I became familiar with what needed to be done and I was able to adjust myself with the daily pressure.

One thing that I learnt is never to let the pressure from work affect my family time.  I am grateful I have a supportive family at home.

I also acknowledge the Nadi Editor, Waisea Nasokia for guiding me and I have learnt a lot from him – particularly his commitment to his work.

Also, I admire some of our women editors – and under their leadership I’ve grown as a journalist.  Some of them are Jyoti Pratibha, Rosi Doviverata, Ranoba Baoa, Karalaini Waqanidrola, Fonua Talei and many more to name a few.

Their distinctive leadership qualities have made an impact on my work as a journalist. Also, our Managing Editor Training, Nemani Delaibatiki, whom I admire for his critical writing on political affairs of our nation.

 

In your journalism career, what are some of the challenges you have faced and how were these addressed?

One of the challenges most reporters face in Fiji was being publicly humiliated by families of accused persons during a court hearing.

I have had people swearing at me because I have written about their court case and taken pictures of them.

This is what I do – it is my job to do this and I hope that members of the public would allow us to do it without being sworn at or ridiculed.

Another challenge I faced was, the language barrier in getting information from people. I am fortunate that I learned Hindi in primary school.

I am from Drauniivi Village in Ra, but I was brought up in Nadi. I am also familiar with the provincial language of Ba. That has made it easier to interact with the villagers in the Western Division.

 

Highlight at least two pieces of work that you did that brought about change in policy, community/ or in behaviour:

I love to write and read stories on women. Their daily struggles and their success. When I started working for Fiji Sun, I wrote about a woman who had been rejected and looked down upon by her family, both immediate and extended and her community. She lived in a make-shift tent and struggled daily to feed her two sons.

After her story was published, people here and abroad pitched in to help. I received so many emails and calls from people who offered to help.

I believe that story brought about change in the lives of people of different races and backgrounds who wants to reach out with love to build a better future for this family.

A few months later, the woman’s two boys were enrolled at Lomani Boys Home. A better home was built for them.

It was a rewarding experience.

 

 

  • World News Day aims to raise public awareness of the critical role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news, to help people make sense of — and improve — the rapidly changing world around them.
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